Erasing the history toppling statues of people of the past from Christopher Columbus to General Lee is the new trend in the US and around the world. The accusation is that they are “symbols of hate” for their past actions.
In U.S. Christopher Columbus statues may be taken down in New York, and in other cities they have been vandalised or destroyed.
Several Confederate monuments and flags, including statues of General Lee, across the country have either been removed or vandalized in the days following last weekend’s deadly unrest in Charlottesville.
In Chicago, activists demanded city officials take down Italo Balbo Monument, calling the gift from dictator Benito Mussolini a “celebration of fascism.” The accusation is that Balbo was leader of fascist Italy’s Air Force and the “heir apparent” to Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Balbo was also a famous aviator, he led some legendary transatlantic flights including the most famous one “Crociera del Decennale ” Rome -Chicago – New York – Rome. During Balbo’s stay in the United States, President Franklin Roosevelt invited him to lunch and presented him with the Distinguished Flying Cross. Balbo was featured on the Time cover picture in June 1933 (see pic on the left).
Mahatma Gandhi statue was vandalised in Johannesburg (South Africa) by a group screaming: “Racist Gandhi must fall” quoting Gandhi saying “Indians are infinitely superior to black Africans.”
In UK, the Guardian started a debated on the opportunity to topple down Admiral Nelson’s column in Trafalgar square because he was described as a ‘white supremacist’.
President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini said that Fascist-era buildings hurt the sensibilities of Italian partisan groups.
Cleansing the past is a dangerous business, National Review correctly points out.
In the present climate of auditing the past, it is inevitable, for example, that Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood (largest single provider of productive health services, including abortion, in the U.S) will have to be disassociated from its founder. Sanger was an unapologetic racist and eugenicist who pushed abortion to reduce the nonwhite population, National Review denounces.
President Woodrow Wilson ensured that the Afro-Americans were not integrated in the U.S. Armed Forces. He also segregated civil-service agencies. Why, then, does Princeton University still cling to its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs? To honor a progressive who did a great deal of harm to African-American causes? the US magazine asks.
So, if we continue to erase the history more hypocritical pathways will be found. When will someone call to destroy the pyramids because of pro-slavery pharaohs? Why don’t we destroy ancient Imperial fora (Fori Imperiali in Italian) in Rome because of Roma’s imperialistic and expansionist policies?
ISIS destroyed the ancient Roman temple of Palmyra, the historical artefacts in Ar-Raqqah and Mosul, many churches, temples and other ancient historical artefacts. They beheaded Khaled al-Asaad, a renowned antiquities scholar in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra because he refused to reveal where valuable artefacts had been moved for safekeeping.
Why? Because removing all traces of any previous culture or civilisations is the ideal way for the group to establish its own new identity, its own new platform of propaganda so it can leave its mark on history.
We don’t have to imitate the black flags of ISIS. We need to know our culture and art in order to be different from ISIS barbarians and assassins who want to eliminate our cultural heritage. We need to preserve our history and not be ashamed of it!